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NO BUSINESS FIGURE casts as long a shadow over the 20th century as Henry Ford. Ford was the godfather of mass production, which, as the century unfolded, became the central organizing principle of America's industry and a defining characteristic of its popular culture. His
genius lay in fusing various strands of change - in auto design, in manufacturing methods, in merchandising - into a new concept. He imagined the mass market and united it with the factory in a way that affects how everyone else thought and acted.

The triumph of the Model T transformed the workplace, the landscape and popular psychology. Luxuries would become necessities: Ford wrote his own law of economic evolution. Until Ford, cars existed as technological toys enjoyed only by the rich. In 1906 - almost three
years before the Model T went into production - Woodrow Wilson, then president of Princeton University, warned that "nothing has spread socialist feeling in the country more than the automobile It symbolized, he said, the "arrogance of wealth". These early cars were handmade, expensive and (because so many models existed) erratic. Ford idea was to standardize design, streamline production, lower costs and make cars available to everyone. "I will build a car for the multitude," he said. And he did. Between 1909 - the first full year of assembly - and 1913, production went from 17,771 to 202,667; in 1924 (the peak year) it passed 1.8 million. Its price dropped from $950 in 1909 to $550 in 1913 to $355 (with an automatic starter) in 1924. By force of example, the Model T inspired a revolution in business thinking. As new products emerged, they were to be produced out in vast quantities that made the typical American household an ever-expanding repository of consumer conveniences and gadgets. The process began in earnest in the 1920s, when vacuum cleaners, radios and refrigerators came into their own. In that decade, refrigerator production went from less than 5,000 to almost 1 million; radio production jumped from nothing to 5 million. Growing up on a farm near Dearborn, Mich., Ford became a compulsive thinker at an early age, learning to fix watches and rejecting (to his father's horror) farm life. "He loathed plowing and planting, feeding and milking," wrote biographer Roger Burlingame. In 1879 the 16-year-old Ford found an apprenticeship at a shop in Detroit that made steam engines. By the early 1890s he had become the chief engineer of the Edison Illuminating Co., one of the nation's first electric utilities. But what absorbed his enthusiasm was his off-hours tinkering: in a wood-shed behind his home, he was building a "horseless carriage." He finished in early 1896 and took his primitive car, mounted on bicycle wheels. It would be more than a decade until the Model T, years that reflected the early auto industry's exuberant chaos. In 1900 the first National Automobile Show in New York City exhibited 40 car companies, and William McRinley became the first president to ride in a car. Ford was simply one ambitious player among other early automakers. Nor had the United States invented the car. That distinction belonged to Germany, where Nickolaus Otto built the first practical internal-combustion engine in 1876, and Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler built what are regarded as the first modern cars in the mid-1880s. But Americans pioneered in commercializing the car.What ultimately separated Ford from his competitors was his concept and obstinacy: his decision to build only one model of car.Until the Model T, many car components were so in-exact that they often had to be reworked individually on expensive machine tools (cutting or grinding machines) so that they would fit and function. Cars were assembled one by one, with workers fetching parts as needed. Car models changed frequently, so that long production runs for most parts were impossible. By avoiding constant design changes. Ford standardized arts and improved the use of machinery. Ford, his mechanics and engineers constantly improvised. One thing led to an-other. To ensure uniform parts, machine tools were rearranged: all the machines needed for a specific part were grouped together. Before, all the machine tools of one type (say, cutting machines) were put together. Car assembly was broken down into many subassemblies (rear axles, engines, dashboards) and all parts for a sub-assembly were stored in bins around the workbenches. This freed workers from having to walk to get each new piece. After that came the assembly line in 1913. This produced an upheaval of people as well as of machines. As production was simplified into more routine tasks (fastening a bolt, stamping a part, connecting two components), skill levels declined sharply. So did Ford's dependence on experienced craftsmen. By 1914 three quarters of the burgeoning work force were recent immigrants. The stress and monotony of Ford's jobs was disaffecting; in 1913, turnover was almost 400 percent. To minimize these problems, Ford decided in early 1914 to double the lowest wage, from $2.34 to $5 a day. The announcement was made with typical bombast: "The Ford Motor Company, the greatest and most successful in the world, will on January 12 introduce the greatest revolution in the matter of re-wards for its workers ever known to the industrial world." Higher wages worked wonders. By 1915 absenteeism had dropped roughly 85 percent. Ford restricted the $5 wage to workers with at least six months on the job - a sensible limit, because he wanted to promote stability. And he conditioned the higher wage on good behavior, a more novel requirement. Through a Sociological Department of his company. Ford counseled workers to take baths, avoid excessive drinking, save to buy a house and keep a tidy home. A force of 150 inspectors visited homes to qualify workers for their payments. This earned Ford a reputation for being both paternalistic and authoritarian. Ford's factory revolution triggered a broader economic and social upheaval. By the 1920s, the car belonged to the masses both in fact and in spirit. In 1910 there were only 458,000 cars registered in America. A decade later the total was 8 million, and by 1930 it had reached 23 million. Though many poor families still didn't own a car, this was almost one car per household. When sociologists Robert and Helen Lynd interviewed families in Muncie, Ind., in the 1920s for their famous study "Middle-town," they found that the car had bur-rowed deeply into popular consciousness. One housewife pointed out that her family owned a car but not a bathtub. "Why, you can't go to town in a bathtub!" she said. Improvements in cars and roads fed on each other: the better carsgot, the more Americans wanted better roads. And there was much to improve. Outside major cities, few roads were paved. The first national road survey, conducted by the Agri-culture Department in 1904, classified 154,000 miles (7 percent) of the 2.15 million miles of rural roads as "surfaced," but the surfaces consisted mainly of gravel or crushed stone. In cities, some major streets had solid stone pavements. Broadway in New York used granite blocks 10 inches thick, laid on a six-inch concrete base. Everything about road-building and traffic control affirms the truth: necessity is the mother of invention. There were few breakthroughs and many small improvements. What worked, spread; what didn't, died.

From "The Power of Invention"

NewsWeek Extra. Winter, 1997-98, p.18



assembly line - линия сборки, конвейер

figure - деятель, лицо

casts* a shadow - отбрасывать тень

godfather - крестный отец

pro-duction - производство

unfold - здесь: начинаться

defining - решающий, определяющий

fuse - сплавлять, соединять

strand - черта

manufacturing - производство

merchandising - торговля

luxury - роскошь

toy - игрушка

warn - предупреждать

spread - распространять

arrogance - высокомерие, надменность

wealth - благосостояние, богатство

erratic - разношерствный, беспорядочный

streamline - поток

lower - снизить

available - доступный

multitude - массы

drop - упасть

in-spire - вдохновлять, воодушевлять

emerge - появляться, возникать

vast quantities - огромные кол-ва

household - хозяйство; семья

expand - расширять(ся)

repository - хранилище

con-sumer - потребительский

conveniences - удобстваa

gadgets - приборы

in earnest - по-настоящему

vacuum cleaner - пылесос

decade - десятилетие

compulsive - из необходимости

reject - отрицать, отказывать(ся)

loath - быть несклонным, не хотеть

plow - пахать

ap-prenticeship - место ученика

steam engine - паровой двигатель

utility - здесь: предприятие

ab-sorb - поглощать, захватывать

tinkering - возня с чем-то

wood-shed - сарай

carriage - повозка

wheel - колесо

exuberant - избыточный

exhibit - выставлять

dis-tinction - отличит. Черта

belong - принадлежать

internal-combustion - внутреннее сгорание

engine - двигатель

ultimately - в конечном итоге

obstinacy - упрямство, упорство

component - деталь

tool - прибор

fetch - пойти и принести

avoid - избегать

improve - усовершенствовать, улучшать

ensure - обеспечить

rear - задний

axle - ось, вал

dashboard - приборная доска, щиток

store - хранить

bin - здесь: ларь

free - освобождать

upheaval - переворот, революция

simplify - упрощать

fasten- - закреплять

stamp - установить

connect - соединить

skill level - уровень квалификации

decline - падать

craftsman - специалист, мастер

burgeoning - формальн.: растущий

bombast - напыщенность

turnover - оборот

wage - зарплата

re-ward - вознаграждение

absen-teeism - длит. отсутствие

restrict - ограничивать

promote - способствовать

requirement - требование

counsel - советовать

excessive - чрезмерный

tidy - опрятный

earn - заработать

paternalistic - отеческий

trigger - запустить, положить начало

upheaval - переворот, революция

per household - на семью

bur-row - здесь: укорениться

consciousness - сознание

improvement - усовершенствование

pave - мостить

survey - исследование

conduct - проводить

rural - сельский

surface - поверхность

gravel - гравий

crushed - дробленый

solid - твердый

pavements - дорожка, тротуар

concrete - цемент

raffic - дорожное движение

affirm - подтверждать

cliched truth - избитая истина

breakthrough - прорыв, крупное изобретение

spread - распространяться


Word Study.
Ex. I. Match the phrases with their Russian equivalents:
1. manufacturing methods a) доступный для каждого
2. in vast quantities b) избитая истина
3. vacuum cleaner c) новое изделие
4. available for everyone d) конвейер
5. economic evolution e) паровой двигатель
6. steam engine f) крестный отец
7. off-hours g) методы производства
8. internal combustion engine h) товары народного потребления
9. assembly line i) одна машина на семью
10. streamline production j) поточное производство
11. one car per household k) в огромных количествах
12. work force l) родительский и авторитарный
13. mass production m) двигатель внутреннего сгорания
14. paternalistic and authoritarian n) экономическое развитие
15. car components o) автодетали
16. clished truth p) пылесос
17. consumer goods q) массовое производство
18. new product r) нерабочие часы
19. Godfather s) рабочая сила

Ex. II. Match the phrases with their Russian equivalents:
1. to go into production a) резко упасть
2. to feed on each other b) отбрасывать тень
3. to simplify the task c) ограничить з/плату
4. to connect two components d) сводить проблемы к минимуму
5. to fasten a bolt e) соединить две детали
6. to decline sharply f) запустить в производство
7. to restrict the wage g) копить деньги
8. to minimize the problems h) закрепить болт
9. to save money i) подпитывать друг друга
10. to cast a shadow j) упростить задачу

Ex. III. Translate the following sentences into English.
1. Ни один бизнесмен не "отбрасывает тень" на весь ХХ век так, как Генри
2. Форд был "крестным отцом" массового производства, которое в начале
века стало ведущим принципом американской промышленности.
3. Ему удалось (manage, succeed) соединить воедино различные черты
4. Предметы роскоши превратились в необходимость.
5. До Форда автомобиль был предметом роскоши, им могли пользоваться
только богатые.
6. Эти самые первые автомобили, сделанные вручную, были "разношерстными"
и дорогими.
7. Идея Форда состояла в том, чтобы стандартизировать дизайн, наладить
поточное производство, снизить цены и сделать машины доступными для
8. Появились новые изделия, они производились в огромных количествах,
что делало типичный американский дом (household) похожим на хранилище
товаров и приспособлений разного рода (of different kind).
9. Форд был просто амбициозным игроком среди других первых
производителей автомобилей.
10. На самом деле, автомобиль был изобретен не в США. !
11. Эта отличительная заслуга (слава) принадлежит Германии.
12. Конвейер высвобождал рабочих от необходимости ходить туда-сюда за
каждой новой деталью.
13. Изобретение Форда запустило (подтолкнуло) социально-экономическую
14. То, что работало - распространялось, то, что не работало - "умирало"
(приходило в упадок).

Comprehension Check.
Answer the following questions:
1. Who was the godfather of mass production?
2. What is the central organizing principle of America's industry?
3. What did cars mean before H.Ford?
4. What did early cars look like?
5. When and where was the car invented?
6. . In what way was the production simplified?
7. How did it influence on workers' skills?
8. How did Ford manage to rise productivity of production?
9. How did he condition the higher wages?
10. What else did he counsel to the workers?
11. What was his regulation like?
12. What did Ford's revolution trigger?
13. What did car improvements lead to?
14. What is the clished truth, mentioned in the text?

Topics to Discuss.
1. Henry Ford's biography.
2. The Assembly Line; its advantages and disadvantages.
3. Consequences (последствия) of Ford's factory revolution.


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